What It Means If You Keep Dreaming About Tornadoes + How To Work Through It
Our dreams have a way of reflecting the way we're feeling in our everyday lives, and that includes when we're feeling stressed. One common stress dream symbol? Tornadoes. Here's what to know if you've been dreaming of tornadoes, plus how to deal with it.
What do dreams about tornadoes mean in general?
According to dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, tornadoes are one of the most common dream symbols, and these dreams typically have one of two ways of unfolding: Either the tornado strikes, or you can see it in the distance.
In the case of seeing a tornado in the distance, Loewenberg explains, you're wondering if some real-life stressor (symbolized by the tornado, in this case) is going to catch up to you. If the tornado is actively striking in the dream, she notes, you feel like you're in the thick of it in real life, in terms of what's stressing you out.
"Ultimately, it comes down to worry, right? The subconscious chooses particular imagery, and the tornado has the spinning effect—so things are spinning out of control in your psyche," she explains, adding that the tornado itself is a visual of the destruction of your own peace of mind.
"Stress is destructive not only to your well-being but to your everyday life because when you worry, it's hard to get things done and it's hard to focus on what needs to be focused on. So, the subconscious is very wise in the way it gives us visual imagery," Loewenberg tells mbg.
She also notes that the size and number of tornadoes are worth paying attention to as well. A handful of small tornadoes, for instance, might indicate a few things are nagging at you, while one large tornado would indicate one larger issue, and a dozen huge tornadoes...well, you get the gist.
7 interpretations for your dreams about tornadoes:
A tornado hitting your childhood home:
If you dream of a tornado hitting your childhood home, Loewenberg says it could indicate you're worrying about your own children, if you have them. Alternatively, she says, it can represent some anxiety or issue that's been with you since you were a child.
A tornado hitting your office:
If you're dreaming of a tornado hitting while you're at work—you guessed it—you're probably stressed about work, according to Loewenberg. It may be a particular situation at your job that's stressing you out, but it could also have to do with worries and fears around your larger career path as well.
A tornado occurring while you're hiding in the basement:
Location always matters in dreams, so pay attention to which part of your home you're in when the tornado strikes. If you're in the basement, for instance, Loewenberg tells mbg the tornado in this case likely represents "either the past or something you're pushing down below the surface that you don't want to deal with."
A tornado occurring while you're in the kitchen:
The kitchen symbolically represents things like health, family, and even the creative process. So to dream of a tornado striking while you're in the kitchen, Loewenberg says, may indicate family worries, stressing about your diet or your health, or a creative project you've been "cooking up," so to speak.
A tornado occurring while you're in the living room:
The living room in dreams will often show us what we're "living with" on a daily basis. That said, according to Loewenberg, if you're hiding from a tornado in the living room during your dream, it's likely related to a daily stressor, and you should ask yourself what you find yourself worrying about every day.
A tornado occurring while you're in the bathroom:
If your tornado dream takes place in the bathroom, it could indicate something you're looking to cleanse yourself of. As Loewenberg explains, there may be something in your life that feels tainted, negative, or otherwise wrong, or you may feel you need to "wash your hands" of something you've done. (Yes, the subconscious mind does seem to love dream puns.)
A tornado hitting when you're with your family or partner:
Lastly, who you're with in a dream is always important too, so if you're dreaming of a tornado in the company of others, whether it's a lover, a friend, or your family, it could indicate some issues within that(/those) relationship(s). "Maybe you're having some relationship difficulties, or it's something that you're both worrying or struggling with together, like debt," Loewenberg offers, for example.
How to work through this dream.
If you keep having recurring dreams about tornadoes—or any stress dream for that matter—of course, the obvious solution is to figure out what the underlying stressor is and to take care of it.
As therapist and dream expert Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., previously told mbg when we asked her about stress dreams, if we're constantly ruminating or worrying every day, "this may also be the way we dream at night."
To that end, she highly recommends dream journaling, as well as mitigating stress when you're awake. "Do make time to constructively deal with the sources of your stress. If there is a difficult conversation you need to have with a friend or family member, don't put it off. If you are feeling unprepared for something, put in the time."
Additionally, Loewenberg notes, pay close attention to whether the tornado actually ever strikes. "What I've found with all the tornado dreamers I've worked with—and particularly if you're just watching it—then that usually means you're worrying about something that is beyond your control and may or may not impact you at all."
She adds that frequent tornado dreams are common in "worrywarts" and to that end, the answer may be finding a way to let go a bit. "Think of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz," she says, adding, "Just ride out this storm of worry because like Dorothy, on the other side of her tornado was a magical place called Oz, and on the other side of yours is a magical place called peace of mind."
Whether your tornado dream took place in your living room, your childhood home, or at work, it's a major sign that something in your life is stressing you out. The good news is dreams offer us a peek into our current emotional state that may not be accessible otherwise, allowing us to move forward with newfound understanding.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.